Drought badly hits summer crop in key Indian state

India’s poor monsoon rains have “badly affected” summer-sown crops in the western state of Maharashtra where farmers now need to focus on winter sowing, Prithviraj Chavan, chief minister of the state, told a news conference on Wednesday.

India, facing its second drought in just four years, on Tuesday took steps to cut irrigation costs and increase fodder supplies for livestock farmers but held off from imposing any curb on exports of agricultural products or a ban of futures trading in them.

Maharashtra is the biggest sugar producing state in India, the world’s top consumer of the sweetener. Soybean is the other main summer crop in the state

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